You’ve bought your art work now what?

How we purchase the art work we choose to put in our homes varies. Whether the choose is as an art lover who just has to have that new piece for their collection or as a piece of décor that finishes a room, we all face the same problem; how to hang it/place it and how to light it.
With sculptural pieces we often have a spot where they can live but have to consider whether our pets are going to be an issue to the piece’s safety. With wall art it often comes down to which wall will it fit on what else does it go with? If you are really lucky you have plenty of free walls; but in many modern homes with large indoor outdoor flow, many of us have massive picture windows.
There used to be a couple of things to consider when hanging artwork;
1: Never hang on an external wall. I never used to understand this, until a conservator told me it is because, particularly with older houses the insulation was not thick enough or in some cases existent at all. This meant that external walls often had the biggest rate of temperature fluctuation as well as a tendency to be damp. Not good things for the long term health of your art work. The paint could shrink or expand and anything on paper could get what I call the wet weave, not to mention chances of crazing and mould. These days with modern homes having much higher standards of insulation the use of external walls are less of an issue. However, with large picture windows direct sunlight can become an issue.
2: Never hang work over a fire or in a wet room for similar reasons as above. Smoke and dust damage in the case of the fireplace and damp and grease from kitchens and bathrooms. A lot of these things can be mitigated now by proper framing and ventilation but are worth considering when choosing where to display your precious art work.
Now how to light your art work to its best advantage. I know earlier I said to watch out for direct sunlight, this is still true. While it bright light many works will look great, they won’t forever. I have a piece at home that sits directly opposite a big picture window. It looks fantastic, but, I’m really lucky I know the artist, as recently she has re-coloured some of it as it had been bleached by the sun.
Whether or not an art work will fade depends on so much. The pigment, quality of the paint whether it has a sealant on it, or whether it is framed and what glass may have been used if it is glazed. So rule of thumb; unless you know all the variables you probably should not hang art in direct sunlight.
Lighting artwork is a matter of taste, is the piece contributing to the overall feel of a room or is it a focal point. If it is a focal point you may want to do what galleries do and spot/highlight the work. In this case it is worth talking to your electrician to make sure the bulbs you are using do not project heat. Halogen and LCD bulbs are quite common to use in this case. The angle of the light on the work also matters as you want to highlight the whole piece not just the middle.
If the work is not a focus of the room direct lighting it may not be necessary as long as the whole room is lit in a similar manner. Any pendant lighting will create a dark and light in a way you may not have intended.
So just as you choose your artwork for your own reasons hanging and lighting your work is a personal choice. The only three things you need to remember is where it looks best for you, how you want it to be seen and its long term health.